Library filed under General from Minnesota
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is waiting to hear from Xcel Energy and New Era Wind in Goodhue County about what changes have taken place in the controversial wind project's power purchase agreement.
New Era was given until Sunday May 12 to resolve a delay in the production of a 78-megawatt wind farm in Goodhue County that is causing the company to default on an agreement to sell generated power, said Jim Alders of Xcel Energy.
"We are VERY unappreciative of this symbol being used by the USPS for Earth Day," Marie McNamara recently emailed postal officials in Washington. "Thanks for putting us on record as strongly objecting to the symbol of industrial wind turbines as a postmark. Thanks for putting us on record as wanting to see the postmark go away immediately."
A letter from the owner of a proposed wind farm to regulators shows his frustration in the permitting process and a willingness to sell off assets of his investment. "New Era has no confidence that due process for this project will ever end, nor that an ABPP (Avian and Bat Protection Plan) will ever be approved, however comprehensively and carefully drafted," said Peter Mastic, owner of New Era Wind Farm, in an April 17 letter to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.
"New Era initiated discussion with NSP (Xcel Energy that was going to buy the wind power) to assign its power contracts to a third-party wind project developer and site," he wrote in a letter dated Wednesday. Three companies are interested and could get turbines turning this year or 2014. "Each of these projects is sited in a community that is far more receptive to wind energy than is Goodhue," he wrote.
This letter was sent to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in reference to the Goodhue Wind project proposal now known as the New Era Wind Farm. New Era explains that it has initiated discussions to assign its power contracts to a third-party wind project developer and site. It further requests that any further evidentiary procedures with respect to the the project before the PUC be placed on hold. It appears from the letter that the project will be sold or canceled.
U.S. District Judge Michael Davis dismissed a lawsuit filed by the developer of the 100-turbine Merricourt project, which remains unbuilt amid lingering fears that whooping cranes and piping plovers will be slashed to death by its turbine blades.
Jaunich solicited funding from individuals and groups for the purchase of pieces of membership in Averill Wind, a company that Jaunich created to develop and operate a wind energy project in Clay County, Minn. To induce these investments, Jaunich misled investors about the project’s status.
The 171-turbine, 280-megawatt project - which would have been the largest wind project in Minnesota - was reduced to a 58-turbine, 116-megawatt development by eliminating many of the turbines that had been targeted by critics. Issues remain before the project will break ground. Per Thursday's approval, Gamesa must submit an avian and bat protection plan.
The most significant blow to the project may have been delivered last week, when PUC staff filed briefing papers. Staff recommended that the commission deny the requested amendments or table the request, require an avian and bat protection plan to be created and - perhaps most importantly - initiate potential revocation proceedings "since the permittee has not commenced construction."
The plug has reportedly been pulled on what could have been the largest wind project in Minnesota history. EDP Renewables, formerly Horizon Wind, recently mailed project participants in Goodhue, Rice, Dodge and Steele counties letters informing them that the initial contract period was up and it would not be renewed.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Thursday, Feb. 28, to re-examine the 78-megawatt New Era Wind Farm proposed for the area around Belle Creek, Zumbrota and Goodhue townships.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission took another pass Thursday in deciding the fate of the controversial New Era wind project in Goodhue County. The commissioners voted unanimously to re-open the certificate of need docket, which was previously approved by the PUC in June 2011.
The delay is just the latest in a string of setbacks for the project, which ran into resistance as soon as it was introduced four years ago. Turbines were originally expected to be spinning by the end of 2011. Representatives for the developer acknowledged the project was taking longer than anticipated and that they remained uncertain how soon construction could begin if regulatory hurdles were overcome.
The staff members recommended reopening the power purchase agreement docket New Era signed with Xcel Energy, ruling that the project is not a community-based energy development (C-BED) and asking the developer to "show cause" why the project's certificate of need should not be revoked.
On Thursday, farmers who bought a wind turbine from Renewable Energy in Excelsior saw a victory in court when a judge ordered the company to temporary halt future sales and open its financial books.
The lawsuit alleges that Renewable Energy SD (RESD) sold farmers in Minnesota and elsewhere faulty windmills using federal stimulus money ...The company either failed to deliver many of the windmills or, in some cases, erected turbines that failed to perform properly or at all, the suit says.
The Eco Harmony West Wind project proposed in Fillmore County is awaiting a ruling this spring after petitioning the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for recertification of its Certificate of Need, an amended site permit and two additional years to obtain a power purchase agreement.
With an eye on the controversial New Era wind project in Goodhue County, area legislators have put wind energy reform near the top of their agenda for a second straight session.
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson filed a lawsuit Friday against a wind-energy company based in Excelsior alleging that it bilked farmers around Minnesota out of hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece utilizing federal stimulus money aimed at helping the country during the recession.